Reading and Writing Schedule to Essay #4
November 1 “The Faces in the Mirror” (31), “The Flip Side of Internet Fame” (90)
November 6 “Unspeakable Conversations” (96)
November 8 Online essays about empathy and boycotting the NFL
November 13 Online essays about reparations debate
November 15 Online essays about mass incarceration and “The New Jim Crow,” including “The Caging of America”
Essay #4 Options with 3 Sources for Works Cited Due 11-20
One. Support, defend, or complicate the assertion that the unstoppable presence of trolls on Twitter has made being on Twitter, for many, an exercise so embedded in futility that deleting one's Twitter account is probably the best option. Consult Lindy West's "I've Left Twitter," Joel Stein's "How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet," Kathy Sierra's "Why the Trolls Will Always Win," Andrew Marantz's and "The Shameful Trolling of Leslie Jones." You can also consult the online essay “The Unsafety Net.”
Two. In the context of “The Flip Side of the Internet” and “The Evolution of Shaming,” develop a cause and effect thesis about the frenzy of shame that is evident in the age of social media. How do shame and fame feed each other is a sick symbiotic relationship? Consider envy, desperation for attention, loss of boundaries, and the need to push the envelope in order to "be heard."
Three. Comparing “Faces in the Mirror” and “The Flip Side of the Internet,” develop a thesis that analyzes the confluence of narcissism and celebrity worship. If narcissism is the undeveloped, immature self, as Sherry Turkle suggests, then it makes sense that narcissistic souls hunger to be worshiped on the grand scale of the very celebrities they both adulate and despise out of envy.
Four. In the context of “Unspeakable Conversations,” defend, refute, or complicate Peter Singer’s position that there are moral grounds for infanticide or “mercy killings.”
Five. Develop a thesis that defends, refutes, or complicates Paul Bloom’s assertion that simple-minded notions of empathy are actually dangerous and diminish us as human beings. Here's the link:
Here's a rebuttal:
Six. Develop a thesis that defends, refutes, or complicates the argument that the NFL is a moral abomination that must be boycotted. Here's the link:
Steve Almond's essay: https://www.salon.com/2015/03/23/the_nfl_is_morally_reprehensible_as_players_walk_away_from_brutality_fans_must_do_the_same/
Rebuttal Link: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-nfl-football-feminism-20141003-story.html
Seven. Develop a thesis that defends, refutes, or complicates the argument that mass incarceration is “The New Jim Crow.” See Adam Gopnik's "The Caging of America."
Eight. Develop a thesis that defends, refutes, or complicates the argument that the United States government is morally compelled to give some African-Americans reparations for the injustices of slavery. See Ta-Nehisi Coates' essay "The Case for Reparations."
Find fragments and comma splices in the following:
I’ve been teaching college composition and critical thinking for thirty years. If I had to pick a year that defined a radical change in my students. I’d have to point to 2012, that was the year things started to go downhill, it was the year when smartphone users in the United States topped 100 million. It was the year a growing number of Americans, and people worldwide, began to see the smartphone as a necessity. More important than having a toothbrush or wearing underwear. The smartphone became an external organ. A kidney with WiFi.
More than a human appendage. The smartphone became an opium-drip machine that you carried around with you 24/7. You could enjoy validation and dopamine all day long. Until the mindless zombie state took over and depression set in. Until you were as numb as an icicle.
Depression made people turn to their little opium gadgets with even greater intensity. As if the very source of their mental disease might save them and put them into states of euphoria the gadgets had once provided them.
I talk about the smartphone-induced zombie state with my students all the time, I talk about how this zombie state will make them “bottom feeders” in the new economy. Their time and energy wasted on their opium machine will make them lose their competitive edge to those who have the strength of mind to keep their smartphones in their proper place.
I tell my students that this zombie state was prophesied in the 1999 film The Matrix. In which we see we have a choice to take the red pill of knowledge or the blue pill of ignorance. Most people in the film’s future dystopia choose ignorance. The blue pill prophecy was fulfilled, I tell my students, in 2012 when everyone in the world believed, erroneously, they not only did they need a smartphone; they needed to constantly address the smartphone’s voracious appetites.
All of my students have horror stories of friends and family members whose lives have been ruined by smartphone addiction. They’ve traded ambition and caring for being numbed and depressed by their little dopamine device. They talk of older brothers and sisters, unemployed college dropouts, who live in the dimly-lit basement where they can be seen hooked to their smartphone all day and night.
My students speak of their own battles with social media-induced depression. Many of them have deleted their Facebook accounts, they all feel better for it. I’ve had students announce to the class that they deleted their Facebook account and it was followed by applause as if they were announcing their many days of sobriety at an A.A. meeting.
I confess to my students that while I rarely use my five-year-old smartphone, a dinosaur by today’s standards, I have wasted much time relaxing in front of the Internet since the late 1990s when I was deluded, like millions of others, into believing surfing the Net gave me infinite possibilities and a giddy sense of omnipotence. But thousands of hours wasted on entertainment and consumer research was time I could have spent practicing writing and playing piano. Rather than honing those skills, I’ve remained a dilettante.
I, too, am in need of an intervention. I confess to my students. I, too, am a casualty of the false Utopian promises of technology. Looking at twenty years and tens of thousands of hours wasted wallowing in the malaise of the Internet's languid seductions, I must now redeem myself. Before it's too late.
Two. In the context of “The Flip Side of the Internet” and “The Evolution of Shaming,” develop a cause and effect thesis about the frenzy of shame that is evident in the age of social media. How do shame and fame feed each other is a sick symbiotic relationship?
Three. Comparing “Faces in the Mirror” and “The Flip Side of the Internet,” develop a thesis that analyzes the confluence of narcissism and celebrity worship.
Consider causes of mass shaming: tribalism, need to demonize the out-group or Repugnant Other, assert shared values, hunger for belonging, wish to be in the in-group.
Consider causes of fame and shame: narcissism, attention addiction, envy
Social Media Attention Is About Instant Gratification; It's Not About Thinking
What Is Thinking?
Alan Jacobs, author of How to Think, uses the example of someone who agonizes over what car to buy. After the purchase, the husband argues with the wife about his choice. She says he should have bought the one that first appealed to him.
Thinking is “not the decision itself but what goes into the decision, the consideration, the assessment. It’s testing your own responses and weighing the available evidence.”
Acting on impulse and instinct is not thinking. Buying a car because it appeals to your reptilian senses is not thinking.
Therefore, the whole conversation about thinking is really a conversation about whether humans are slaves to impulse or masters of their own actions, agents of free will.
A nihilistic and pessimistic worldview posits that we are helpless slaves to our appetites.
A more optimistic worldview posits that we can cultivate reason, become self-possessed, and become agents of free will.
Another Characteristic of Thinking—Checking Our Biases
Jacobs cites Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, who addresses the central question about thinking: “What can be done about biases? How can we improve judgments and decisions, both our own and those of the institutions that we serve and that serve us?”
Kahneman concludes after decades of research that quality thinking can be achieved but only with sustained great effort.
I would make an analogy to dieting: You can lose weight and keep the pounds off but only by maintaining consistent diligence. Only a tiny percentage of people can do this. Most of us go off our diet.
This is scary to contemplate. We’re talking about the human race, the majority of which is doomed to be slaves to impulse, instinct, and base appetites. Why take a critical thinking class except to take in this terrifying state of affairs?
To underscore this point, we can look to another Kahneman quote: “a considerable part of our thinking apparatus, the part that generates our immediate intuitions, ‘is not readily educable. Except for some effects that I attribute mostly to age, my intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy as it was before I made a study of these issues.’ This is not encouraging.”
Three. How does Jacobs’ book on thinking differ from most others?
Most books on thinking, Jacobs observes, focus on science, when it might be more helpful to look at thinking as an art.
Jacobs writes: “There are certain humanistic traditions, some of them quite ancient, that can come to our aid when we’re trying to think about thinking, and to get better at it.”
As an art form, thinking can be looked at as a rider, the thinker, riding an elephant, a metaphor for intuition. Jacobs wants to help the rider control the elephant even though the rider and the elephant, our logic and inner intuition and instinct, have minds of their own.
My immediate reaction is that 1% of the population will be drawn to reading a book such as Jacobs’ and that that 1% is motivated to think better, but most people could care less.
Four. What is Jacobs’ argument about thinking?
He writes, “In particular I’m going to argue that we go astray when we think of our task primarily as ‘overcoming bias.’ For me, the fundamental problem we have may best be described as an orientation of the will: we suffer from a settled determination to avoid thinking. Relatively few people want to think. Thinking troubles us; thinking tires us. Thinking can force us out of the familiar, comforting habits; thinking can set us at odds, or at least complicate our relationships, with those we admire or love or follow. Who needs thinking?”
Many might think, in my words: “This whole thinking thing is too hard, it’s too slow, and it’s too painful. The hell with thinking.”
Our default setting is Refutation Mode:
Thinking requires listening, which we all hate to do. We prefer Refutation Mode. We repel all outside ideas and stay in our bubble. You’ve done all the thinking you need to do. Just wallow in your non-thinking and “be right.”
This willfulness, stubbornness, and bullheaded ignorance is for too many people the default setting of their mind.
Five. What tribalistic instinct kills critical thinking?
We want to be part of the ingroup so we demonize, unfairly, the ingroup’s hated outgroups without knowing specific details about those outgroups.
Jacobs quotes Marilynne Robinson who writes that in the way we disdain Puritans “is a great example of our collective eagerness to disparage without knowledge or information about the thing disparaged, when the reward is the pleasure of sharing an attitude one knows is socially approved.”
Our instinct is not to think clearly; our instinct is to have consensus, to show allegiance to a tribe. We can call this Groupthink.
Groupthink is not thinking. It is the degradation of thinking.
For example, I had a student from Los Angeles who told me she grew up during the O.J. Simpson Trial. She and her friends believed O.J. was guilty, but they never discussed it with their families or the larger community because the popular notion was that O.J. was innocent, not because he was necessarily innocent, per se, but because proclaiming his innocence was a way of getting revenge on the LAPD, which had abused her community for decades.
"The Flip Side of the Internet Fame"
The Stupid Factor
We can attain short-lived "fame" for being so stupid we're funny on the Internet, and we get lots of attention. Unconsciously, at the very least, we may "act out" or act stupid because we desire attention and fame.
Hungry for attention, we push the envelope, do more and more outrageous things, and as a result we violate boundaries of others and ourselves.
When we push the boundaries, we may not be funny or famous, as we intended. Instead, we may just look stupid. We inevitably become fodder for the web community's salacious appetites. The social media community can gang up on us in a feeding frenzy. That's the downside. We lose our dignity.
Fine Line Between Fame and Public Humiliation
Sure, we can be "famous" and enjoy the dopamine rush and self-validation resulting from millions of hits and likes, but at what cost?
If we lose our dignity in a maelstrom of public humiliation, is it worth it? It seems the line between fame and humiliation is getting finer and finer. Too many people don't know how to draw the line. Or they are so needy for attention they don't care.
Some of us relish in others' neediness and others' urge to share their car crash existence on YouTube. We're spectators to an ongoing online car crash.
In the above scenario, human dignity is lost on both the exhibitionists and the voyeurs.
A girl didn't pick up dog poop from her dog. The video of her infraction went viral and became a world-wide meme. Now she is the equivalent of "Dog Poop Girl." Is that fair? She was harassed so badly she dropped out of college. This is her life now. "Thanks, viral videos."
In 2010, a 2-year-old boy Ardi Rizal in Indonesia is seen smoking and this video defines him for life.
Often a meme becomes a symbol of shame and moral failure.
History of Public Shaming
Civilizations have always had a penchant for public shaming as a way to affirm morality and social order. Societies wanted to set examples and offer cautionary tales to their citizens. Flogging is common.
The scarlet letter was so common in puritan America it inspired a rather slow-paced novel.
Shaming Presents New Problems in Age of Internet
But while social stigma has its value, Internet shaming is completely out of proportion and is a form of overkill.
Victims have little protection from the law. Part of the problem is we're in new territory without legal precedents.
"A Terrible Shame"
While many champion shaming like writer Jennifer Jacquet, author of Is Shame Necessary?, shame, according to Eric Posner, leads to chaos in the Internet Age as we read in his essay, "A Terrible Shame."
Third-party punishment: When we punish or shame people whose bad behavior doesn't affect us directly. We punish or moralize to achieve certain benefits.
The Moralizing Effect
We moralize because it can be addictive.
We moralize because it gives us a sense of belonging.
We moralize because it cements our moral beliefs.
We moralize because moralizing signals to others that we adhere to a moral code that makes us trustworthy.
We moralize because moralizing gives us social capital, or so we believe.
We moralize because it signals "cooperative intent" and thus makes our acceptance into the tribe more likely.
We moralize because it's easy to sit in our robe eating a Hot Pocket while judging people on the Internet and feeling good about ourselves. How much time and energy does such an exercise require in order to feel like we're riding high?
Some thoughts on the above essay prompt:
Frankenstein was a monster who came to life and destroyed his maker. Likewise, we created social media and it will destroy us. We can analyze its foibles and pathologies, but at the end of the day its tentacles strangle us and kill us.
The authors we've read on the subject are all smart and they all make good points, but there is no change in policy, law, or human behavior that will occur. I'm reminded of the Chinese words "Mei banfa," nothing can be done.
As we read the authors' erudite insights into public shaming on the Internet, we are seeing that the trolls of the world win. Our higher angels don't flex their muscles as mightily as our lower trolls. The lowest common denominator triumphs in the age of social media.
We see that even normal people, non-trolls, if you will, can succumb to odious behavior and become dumb, irrational versions of themselves.
The cause and effect thesis should focus on the tragedy of how decent, smart people become irrational players in a social media environment.
Paragraph 2: Summarize a case of someone being humiliated and the lasting effects of online shaming. You may know the person or you can write about someone in the news. 200 words.
Paragraph 3. Analyze 5 causes of normal people being degraded by their need to shame relatively innocent victims. 150 words.
Paragraphs 4-8: Your supporting paragraphs at 150 words each. 1,300 subtotal.
Paragraph 9: Your conclusion, a restatement of your thesis: 100-200 words: 1,400-1,500 words total.
One. Why do we want to hype the stars and make them gods who would defy the banal existence that might accurately define them?
Time investment justification:
We need to justify all the money and attention we spend on them so we don’t feel like idiots. We have to believe they’re special and exist on a higher plane than we do.
We are not drawn to the people behind the stars. We are drawn, like drug addicts, to the Chanel No. 5 Moment that the stars represent.
Of course, a Chanel No. 5 Moment is the apotheosis, the highest state, of fame, popularity, and attention. This apotheosis is a drug, a narcotic that makes the stars seem like gods.
In America, we want to be like the gods, or we fear we will be nothing. We are an All or Nothing culture.
Celebrities are like Greek gods who entertain us:
We’re also bored and we assuage our boredom by believing in "the magic of celebrity" even though a deep part of us knows this magic is not true. Behind the celebrities' clown masks are aged faces wrinkled with emptiness and despair.
Living vicariously through the drama of hyped-up personalities, we don't have to face the aching abyss that defines our wasted, empty existence.
Emotional children crave celebrity hype:
Perhaps this need to believe in magic is evidence that we’re still tiny children emotionally.
We live vicariously through the stars. We have not achieved what psychologist Erich Fromm calls "individuation," independence from delusions, authority figures, and celebrities.
Bored with our banal existence, we live vicariously through the stars. We wish our own lives were full of grand moments but in truth as The Wire's Lester Freamon tells his friend McNulty: "There are no grand moments. Life is the ____that happens to you while you wait for the [grand] moments that never come."
Two. What is problematic about the “relationship between persona and person”?
As we see in the Robin Williams example in which he knows someone sees the celebrity but not the real man, the persona always kills our connection to person.
The persona is the fake tyrant that consumes us.
The persona is the hype that dehumanizes us.
The persona is the glitter that diminishes us.
The persona is the fantasy that degrades us.
Because celebrity, money, power, and beauty are all drugs: The fanboy (or fangirl) who gawks over celebrity, money, power, or beauty becomes drugged by this false god and the false god becomes drugged by being perceived as a false god. As a result, both parties go insane.
I knew a guy who was so good looking, girls used to look at him and start crying. He moved to Tahiti where he became worshipped as a god complete with velvet paintings and statues in front of restaurants.
This insanity is rendered in the 2014 film Birdman.
Robin Williams is sick of being looked at as a false god.
Having experienced the degradation many times, Robin Williams’ eyes went dead and he could not connect with the author Ty Burr.
Another problem is our paradoxical relationship with the stars. On one hand, we worship them as gods; on the other, we resent them for “their presumption to set themselves up as gods when our egos told us we were the ones deserving of attention.”
The dark side of worshipping false gods is that deep down we resent idols that loom over us as superior beings:
Fanboys and fangirls hunger for tabloids and celebrity gossip to see their gods fall into drug rehab and scandal.
Mobs tear their clothing “as if to simultaneously absorb and obliterate the object of affection.”
Essay Topic for a Cause and Effect Analysis Thesis:
Essay Topic Six. Comparing “Faces in the Mirror” and “Markets and Morals,” develop an argumentative or cause and effect thesis about how the relationship between the commodification of everything, including celebrity, results in dehumanization.
From Purdue Owl:
A paraphrase is...
- your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
- one legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
- a more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.
Paraphrasing is a valuable skill because...
- it is better than quoting information from an undistinguished passage.
- it helps you control the temptation to quote too much.
- the mental process required for successful paraphrasing helps you to grasp the full meaning of the original.
6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing
- Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
- Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase on a note card.
- Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material. At the top of the note card, write a key word or phrase to indicate the subject of your paraphrase.
- Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.
- Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
- Record the source (including the page) on your note card so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.
Some examples to compare
The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.
A legitimate paraphrase:
In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).
An acceptable summary:
Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).
A plagiarized version:
Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.
According to Andrea A. Lunsford in The St. Martin’s Handbook, Eight Edition, there are 20 writing errors that merit “The Top 20.”
One. Wrong word: Confusing one word for another.
Here's a list of wrong word usage.
A full-bodied red wine compliments the Pasta Pomodoro.
Compliment is a to say something nice about someone. "You look nice in that pumpkin polo shirt. Very nice pumpkin accents."
Complement is to complete or match well with something. "This full-bodied red wine complements the spaghetti."
The BMW salesman excepted my counteroffer of 55K for the sports sedan.
The word should be accepted.
Kryptonite effects Superman in such a way that he loses his powers.
Effect is a noun. Affect is a verb, so it should be the following:
Kryptonite affects Superman in a such a way that he loses his powers.
Confusing their and there
There superpowers were compromised by the Gamma rays.
We need to use the possessive plural pronoun their.
Two. Missing comma after an introductory phrase or clause
Terrified of slimy foods, Robert hid behind the restaurant’s dumpster.
In spite of my aversion to rollercoasters, I attended the carnival with my family.
Three. Incomplete documentation
Noted dietician and nutritionist Mike Manderlin observes that, “Dieting is a mental illness.”
It should read:
Noted dietician and nutritionist Mike Manderlin observes that, “Dieting is a mental illness” (277).
Four. Vague Pronoun Reference
Focusing on the pecs during your Monday-Wednesday-Friday workouts is a way of giving you more time to work on your quads and glutes and specializing on the way they’re used in different exercises.
Before Jennifer screamed at Brittany, she came to the conclusion that she was justified in stealing her boyfriend.
Five. Spelling (including homonyms, words that have same spelling but different meanings)
No one came forward to bare witness to the crime.
No one came forward to bear witness to the crime.
Every where we went, we saw fast food restaurants.
Everywhere we went, we saw fast food restaurants.
Love is a disease. It’s sickness derives from its power to intoxicate and create capricious, short-term infatuation.
Its sickness derives from its power to intoxicate and create capricious, short-term infatuation.
Six. Mechanical error with a quotation
In his best-selling book Love Is a Virus from Outer Space, noted psychologist Michael M. Manderlin asserts that, “Falling in love is a form of madness for which there is no cure”.
In his best selling book Love Is a Virus from Outer Space, noted psychologist Michael M. Manderlin asserts that, “Falling in love is a form of madness for which there is no cure.”
In his best selling book Love Is a Virus from Outer Space, noted psychologist Michael M. Manderlin asserts that, “Falling in love is a form of madness for which there is no cure” (18).
“It forever stuns me that people make life decisions based on something as fickle and capricious as love”, Michael Manderlin writes (22).
“It forever stuns me that people make life decisions based on something as fickle and capricious as love,” Michael Manderlin writes (22).
Seven. Unnecessary comma
I need to workout when at home, and while taking vacations.
You do however use a comma if the comma is between two independent clauses:
I need to workout at home, and when I go on vacations, I bring my yoga mat to hotels.
I need to workout every day, because I’m addicted to the exercise-induced dopamine.
You do however use a comma after a dependent clause beginning with because:
Because I’m addicted to exercise-induced dopamine, I need to workout everyday.
Peaches, that are green, taste hideous.
The above is an example of an independent clause with a essential information or restrictive information. Not all peaches taste hideous, only green ones. The meaning of the entire sentence needs the dependent clause so there are no commas.
However, if the clause is additional information, the clause is called nonessential or nonrestrictive, and we do use commas:
Peaches, which are on sale at Whole Foods, are my favorite fruit.
Eight. Unnecessary or missing capitalization
Some Traditional Chinese Medicines containing Ephedraremain legal.
We only use capital letters for proper nouns, proper adjectives, first words of sentences, important words in titles, along with certain words indicating directions and family relationships.
Nine. Missing word
The site foreman discriminated women and promoted men with less experience.
The site foreman discriminated against women and promoted men with less experience.
Chris’ behavior becomes bizarre that his family asks for help.
Chris’ behavior becomes so bizarre that his family asks for help.
Ten. Faulty sentence structure
The information which high school athletes are presented with mainly includes information on what credits needed to graduate and thinking about the college which athletes are trying to play for, and apply.
A sentence that starts out with one kind of structure and then changes to another kind can confuse readers. Make sure that each sentence contains a subject and a verb, that subjects and predicates make sense together, and that comparisons have clear meanings. When you join elements (such as subjects or verb phrases) with a coordinating conjunction, make sure that the elements have parallel structures.
The reason I prefer yoga at home to the gym is because I prefer privacy.
I prefer yoga at home to the gym because of privacy.
11. Missing Comma with a Nonrestrictive Element
Marina who was the president of the club was the first to speak.
The clause who was the president of the club does not affect the basic meaning of the sentence: Marina was the first to speak.
A nonrestrictive element gives information not essential to the basic meaning of the sentence. Use commas to set off a nonrestrictive element.
12. Unnecessary Shift in Verb Tense
Priya was watching the great blue heron. Then she slips and falls into the swamp.
Verbs that shift from one tense to another with no clear reason can confuse readers.
13. Missing Comma in a Compound Sentence
Meredith waited for Samir and her sister grew impatient.
Without the comma, a reader may think at first that Meredith waited for both Samir and her sister.
A compound sentence consists of two or more parts that could each stand alone as a sentence. When the parts are joined by a coordinating conjunction, use a comma before the conjunction to indicate a pause between the two thoughts.
14. Unnecessary or Missing Apostrophe (including its/it's)
Overambitious parents can be very harmful to a childs well-being.
The car is lying on it's side in the ditch. Its a white 2004 Passat.
To make a noun possessive, add either an apostrophe and an s (Ed's book) or an apostrophe alone (the boys' gym). Do not use an apostrophe in the possessive pronouns ours, yours, and hers. Useits to mean belong to it; use it's only when you mean it is or it has.
15. Fused (run-on) sentence
Klee's paintings seem simple, they are very sophisticated.
She doubted the value of medication she decided to try it once.
A fused sentence (also called a run-on) joins clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence with no punctuation or words to link them. Fused sentences must be either divided into separate sentences or joined by adding words or punctuation.
16. Comma Splice
I was strongly attracted to her, she was beautiful and funny.
We hated the meat loaf, the cafeteria served it every Friday.
A comma splice occurs when only a comma separates clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence. To correct a comma splice, you can insert a semicolon or period, connect the clauses with a word such as and or because, or restructure the sentence.
17. Lack of pronoun/antecedent agreement
Every student must provide their own uniform.
Pronouns must agree with their antecedents in gender (male or female) and in number (singular or plural). Many indefinite pronouns, such as everyone and each, are always singular. When a singular antecedent can refer to a man or woman, either rewrite the sentence to make the antecedent plural or to eliminate the pronoun, or use his or her, he or she, and so on. When antecedents are joined by or or nor, the pronoun must agree with the closer antecedent. A collection noun such as team can be either singular or plural, depending on whether the members are seen as a group or individuals.
18. Poorly Integrated Quotation
A 1970s study of what makes food appetizing "Once it became apparent that the steak was actually blue and the fries were green, some people became ill" (Schlosser 565).
In a 1970s study about what makes food appetizing, we read, "Once it became apparent that the steak was actually blue and the fries were green, some people became ill" (Schlosser 565).
"Dumpster diving has serious drawbacks as a way of life" (Eighner 383). Finding edible food is especially tricky.
"Dumpster diving has serious drawbacks as a way of life," we read in Eighner's book (383). One of the drawbacks is that finding food can be especially difficult.
Quotations should fit smoothly into the surrounding sentence structure. They should be linked clearly to the writing around them (usually with a signal phrase) rather than dropped abruptly into the writing.
19. Missing or Unnecessary Hyphen
This paper looks at fictional and real life examples.
A compound adjective modifying a noun that follows it requires a hyphen.
The buyers want to fix-up the house and resell it.
A two-word verb should not be hyphenated. A compound adjective that appears before a noun needs a hyphen. However, be careful not to hyphenate two-word verbs or word groups that serve as subject complements.
20. Sentence Fragment
Marie Antoinette spent huge sums of money on herself and her favorites. And helped to bring on the French Revolution.
No complete verb
The aluminum boat sitting on its trailer.
Beginning with a subordinating word
We returned to the drugstore. Where we waited for our buddies.
A sentence fragment is part of a sentence that is written as if it were a complete sentence. Reading your draft out loud, backwards, sentence by sentence, will help you spot sentence fragments.